'Big Sisters' Needed For Women's Ambassador Program at Embry-Riddle
Prescott, AZ and Daytona Beach, FL, December 5, 2011
In its continuing effort to create more opportunities for future and current female students, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is calling on more than 11,000 women graduates to give back.
The Women’s Ambassador Program (WAP), operated by the Student Alumni Association, is working with the university’s Prescott and Daytona Beach campuses to create a team of “big sisters” for female students at Embry-Riddle. They will also represent the university at events, air shows and conferences throughout the country.
“We are asking our alumnae to serve as guest speakers and mentors, and to provide feedback and ideas for engaging women students,” said Michele Berg, executive director of Alumni Relations. “We want them to be a part of growing Embry-Riddle’s female enrollment.”
The WAP is part of the university’s fall launch of Embry-Riddle Women’s Initiative, spearheaded by Christina Frederick-Recascino, senior executive vice president for academics and research, and supported by Maurie Johnson, wife of university President and CEO John Johnson.
Since 2007, the Johnsons have worked to designate additional scholarship funds for women students and encourage a female-friendly culture on campus. In 2010-11, they established the John and Maurie Johnson Endowed Scholarship for young women, with assistance from several donors.
“I realized that young women at Embry-Riddle didn’t have an effective support group,” Maurie Johnson said. “We hope to continue to grow this fund, so that more women can access this financial assistance,”
Their efforts appear to have paid off. Embry-Riddle’s female enrollment is now around 17 percent at both the Prescott and Daytona Beach campuses, compared to 14 percent in 2007. The goal is to increase the percentage of female students at Embry-Riddle’s residential campuses to 25 percent by fall 2017
Initial gatherings kicked off the program at the Daytona Beach campus in November and at the Prescott campus in December. Recascino said she is very proud of the student women ambassadors for stepping up.
“The role they have decided to undertake is really, really important to this university now and for the future,” she said.
Now with the addition of the WAP, the university is hoping to further encourage female students with mentoring and advice from women who are succeeding in the fields of aerospace, aviation, engineering and others thanks to their education and time at Embry-Riddle.
Shaesta Waiz, a graduate assistant in the Alumni Relations office and a 2010 alumnae, is lead coordinator of student involvement for WAP.
A first-generation Afghan-American and licensed pilot (private certification, fixed wing), Waiz is the first in her family to graduate with a college degree and knows first-hand the cultural and financial challenges young women face when contemplating higher education.
“I’m excited to be involved in the Women’s Ambassador Program,” said Waiz, who is pursuing a master’s degree in aeronautics at Embry-Riddle as well as continuing her flight training. “This is a way for me to positively impact the futures of young women. I want to show them that they can succeed, regardless of their circumstances.”
For more information on the Embry-Riddle Women’s Initiative and the WAP, contact Michele Berg.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.